Israel and Iran ratchet up cyber warfare

Image copyright Rex Features Image caption Ram Dor, head of Israel’s cyber defence force

Cyber security experts say “concrete answers” are coming as Israel’s conflict with Iran escalates.

In the last few days there have been two attacks on Israeli targets, including an attempted hack on the electric power network.

“We have been warned by the cyber world that it is a game that can be manipulated”, said Ram Dor, head of Israel’s cyber defence force, Arkel.

“We know who is attacking us and we know how to get even”.

Iran has repeatedly denied it has been behind these recent cyber attacks.

Cyber warfare

Israel is well-known for the use of cyber warfare by its secretive intelligence service, the Mossad.

In 2015, the Mossad was responsible for the Guardian’s expose that details how it maintains a massive system of internet monitoring.

Arkel’s head of cyber intelligence has repeatedly accused Iran of carrying out cyber attacks against Israel and around the world.

He insists Iran tries to influence and destabilise Israeli politics.

“Since the 1990s, the Iranians have worked to influence our elections and to silence the voices of protesters”.

After Israel’s war with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 the Iranian-backed militia was held responsible for using sophisticated internet attacks to try to hack the computer system that manages the Israel-Lebanon border crossings.

Arkel says Iran tries to hit defence systems and a power grid in Israel, as well as the country’s massive anti-missile system.

He says Iran is using cyber cyber attacks to move into what he calls the “new age of weaponry”.

Both the Russian and American sides have suffered several attacks on their infrastructures by Iran’s Quds Force, the Western intelligence agencies say.

Iran has said it was using the nuclear deal with world powers to advance its influence around the world, claiming it had covertly funded special forces to make contact with rogue groups in Syria.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Three people were killed when a bomb exploded outside a restaurant in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Thursday

Fears of expanding Iran’s influence were brought home to Israelis in November when explosions in Damascus killed three people and sent a powerful blast across the city and into a busy district of the city.

The bombing was claimed by a militant group, Jaish al-Islam, which was behind at least two suicide bombings in Jerusalem earlier this year that killed 11 people.

Jaish al-Islam says it is opposed to the Iran-led peace process in Syria, and at the time of the Damascus explosions claimed that it was launching an attack against the Iranian military following its deployment in the country.

Israeli warplanes have carried out several raids on Iranian positions in Syria over the last two years, including one in November that destroyed what it called an Iranian drone that had flown from Syria into Israel.

On Sunday, a senior Palestinian militant said Israel had shot down a drone over the occupied West Bank.

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